Want More U.S. Jobs? Enforce Carbon Pollution Limits

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One of the main talking points that Republicans use to bash environmental protections is that they’ll cost us too many jobs.  That is one of their main complaints about the new carbon emissions standards for power plants.  They believe that if we put limits on the amount of greenhouse gases that these coal-fired power plants spew into our atmosphere, then we’ll lose too many jobs, sending local economies into economic ruin.

It’s a great talking point in a nation that is currently starved for jobs, and it helps to sell fear to workers in these industries in order to get them to vote against their own health and safety.

Unfortunately for Republicans who use these talking points, they are only telling half of the story.

Yes, capping emissions could potentially cost some jobs.  But a new study shows that the amount of jobs created by the new EPA rules would actually far surpass the amount of jobs lost by the new carbon emissions standards.

According to estimates, the new power plant emissions standards will create as many as 120,000 jobs by the year 2020.  Conversely, estimates show that the energy industry may have to cut as many as 24,000 jobs during that same time period as a result of the new standards. 

But those are just the EPA’s estimates.  A new report from the Economic Policy Institute says that the new safety standards will create a total of 360,000 jobs for compliance, inspections, and related enforcement. 

It doesn’t take a very skilled mathematician to see that 360,000 is a lot larger than 24,000, but don’t expect simple math to thwart the talking points that regulations kill jobs.  After all, these talking points are coming from a political party that has taken more than $164 million from the dirty energy industry in just the last four years.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced.

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